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  #1  
Old 07-22-2012
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new 120% genoa

I have two questions.
A. I met with a sailmaker yesterday to discuss the purchase of a new sail. he showed me samples of the newer non-woven sails materials. As an average sailor they looked much the same. yet there were two quotes, one for a GMX club racer ($2k) and another higher tech ($3k). The more expensive would last 20% longer. I inherited sails with the boat. I have noticed the composite sails have all aged quicker than the woven sails, and one certainly has developed a noticeable leech curl. OK, so the more expensive plastic sails are meant to hold their shape longer, BUT if this is at the cost of leach curls, isn't it simply better to get good quality dacron, and accept the inevitable "bagging" which would take a long time , and misuse , to develop.?

B. i have decided to go with a max 120% genoa. I usually sail and race short handed. .And the phrf modification allows me a little more latitude for mistakes !
BUT , and here is the rub, there must be a percent of overlap for my boat, around 120% (115%? 130%?) that would provide the maximum drive for the phrf buck. The sailmaker did not think this was important. I know this is a difficult question, but surely the wing shape of the foresail/mainsail combination can be optimised for a particular sailplan.
The boat is a lovely Abbott 33, which I am not sailing as well as she deserve to be handled!

Answers to either A or B will be carefully perused. Thank you.
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Old 07-22-2012
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Re: new 120% genoa

A) It is your boat and your money. If you are feeling flush and want to try out the newer plastic/laminar sails then go for it. Keep in mind though that by and large the average consumer of newer technology sails usually has a large budget for replacing said sails on a 2 - 5 year cycle and may be racing for a larger sardine dish then is awarded in your PHRF races. If it were my money I'd opt for a high quality Dacron sail as it is a tried and true technology. I'd even buy said sail(s) from an offshore maker like sailwarehouse.com (Rolly Tasker) and save another boat buck or two.

B) With my boat (Tartan 27') we are allowed a maximum of up to 155% jib without incurring a PHRF penalty. One school of thought on this dictates that you should carry as much fore sail area as practical for maximum lift and power. The downside to this philosophy is that when it is windy you might be over powered even if the sail is partially furled. Being over canvassed while short handed is clearly not an ideal situation.
Your idea of going with around 120% makes sense if there frequently are good winds where you sail. The boat will sail flatter and faster with less stress on crew and rigging.
Lastly I'd defer to the Abbott 33's designers recommended fore sail area: ABBOTT 33 sailboat specifications and details on sailboatdata.com
There is little point (IMHO) in putting on a such a large head sail that your boat ends up with the dreaded lee helm. From the spec I linked your main and jib should be very close in sail area resulting in a balanced helm.

Your boat, your money, your choice.
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Old 07-22-2012
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Re: new 120% genoa

Traditionally laminate sails hold a good shape for much longer than Dacron. Dacron while it looses a good shape quickly continues to hold some shape for longer.

Basically Dacron will be bagged out after a year or so of hard use. While a laminate sail will continue to look fine. Three years down the road however the Dacron will still look bagged out but usable, while the laminate pretty much has to be replaced.
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Old 07-22-2012
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Re: new 120% genoa

It really depends on what your priorities are. Are you going to campaign your boat seriously? Are you and your crew at an elite level where the incremental improvement that you get from the hottest racing sails is going to be noticeable? Or are you just looking to go out and hone your skills with beercan racing?

What a lot of casual racers do is buy a good, durable dacron mainsail, and then go with a good laminate headsail for racing only, and use their old sails for cruising and daysailing. Sure it doesn't have the cool factor of having a matching suit of high tech sails, but it is a more practical solution if you are on a budget. Remember, modern dacrons are very high quality and will last for many years. They will not be "bagged out" after a couple of years! They are very low stretch materials too. Mainsails do not get nearly as much punishment as a headsail does, and they tend to be built out of heavier cloth.

When it comes to racing laminates the goal is the lightest possible sail for a given strength, and they do sacrifice durability. A more expensive sail does not necessarily mean more durable or longer lasting; often the opposite is true! The most expensive racing headsail you can get will be ruined very quickly just by using it in higher than designed wind speeds!

With regards to what size genoa you should get, it really depends on what the prevailing conditions you sail in are. Your handicap will be adjusted based on your sail area, so you will rate slower with a smaller sail. In some cases it may even move you into a different division, so you should run the numbers by your handicapper and see what it does for your rating. I couldn't speak to what the optimum sail area for your particular boat is, but typically racers go for the maximum sail area they can carry. A larger sail will not give you balance problems such as lee helm as some have stated. Such problems are a factor of rig tuning more than headsail size.
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Old 07-23-2012
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Re: new 120% genoa

Here’s how it broke down for us on a 40 footer:

The Dacron sails, main and 135 genoa, were going around $2700 each. With a re-cut here and there they were expected to last 20 years. They will stretch and become less efficient as time goes on.

The Pentax (mylar/Kevlar), which we got, were 5 grand each and expected to last around 10 years. (we blew out the old main in a gale so the insurance company bought us that one, minus the deductable). These will hold their shape well, a rapid decline at the end.

The carbon fiber sails were pushing 8 grand each and expected to only last up to 5 years. Strong and light weight, but degrade quickly…don’t leave them out in the sun.

I can’t attest to the longevity figures, they are only what I was told by the maker.

Seems to me that by going with a local loft, especially when racing, there is a level of support from the sail maker that you can’t get from mail order. Our maker came out to the boat for measurements, was willing to go for a ride, adjust the rigging, check the cut, and make sure the sails were flying right…at no additional cost (save a beer or two).
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Old 07-25-2012
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Smile Re: new 120% genoa

Thank you for the replies.
I notice that there have been no comments on the specific question of LEACH CURLS.( Maybe all sails get leach curls.)
Secondly, no comments on how differing SMALL degreeS of overlap affect
sail drive of foresail/mainsail combination. the sailmaker had not thought about it either. ( I guess this is advanced aeronautics, and an impossible question. Was just curious is all. ) The phrf allows a variation of 10% for same handicap allowance, which is quite a bit.
Thanks everybody, for your attention. john f.
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Old 07-25-2012
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Re: new 120% genoa

Leech curl is not a function of the sail material but rather the amount of leech cord tension that is left on. Sails with large roaches tend to flutter when not completely trimmed in. Far too often, the trimmer will use the leech cord rather than trim this out. Far worse is leaving the tension on at all times. This eventually warps the leach leaving a permanent cup. The other big cause is motoring with the main up and fluttering. This stretches out the leach area, requiring more leech tension and more cupping. If you experience flutter on a brand new sail, take your sail maker out so he can make proper re-cut on the sail. Laminates are no more prone to leech cupping than ones made of Dacron.

Genoa size (and overlap) is really dependant upon your local conditions. In San Francisco PHRF, there is a slight (3 second) break between a 120 and 121% Genoa. Samller headsails give you the ability to point higher but with the penalty of being less powerful on a reach or a run.
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Old 09-08-2012
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Re: new 120% genoa

Consider where the sail will sheet to. Oftentimes a sail like a 120-130 on a boat designed to fly a 150 won't sheet very well. It's too big to sheet inside the shrouds like a 105 and yet not big enough to wrap around the shrouds and back in to a track where the 150 would sheet.
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Old 09-08-2012
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Re: new 120% genoa

Quote:
Originally Posted by john f View Post
I have two questions.
A. I met with a sailmaker yesterday to discuss the purchase of a new sail. he showed me samples of the newer non-woven sails materials. As an average sailor they looked much the same. yet there were two quotes, one for a GMX club racer ($2k) and another higher tech ($3k). The more expensive would last 20% longer. I inherited sails with the boat. I have noticed the composite sails have all aged quicker than the woven sails, and one certainly has developed a noticeable leech curl. OK, so the more expensive plastic sails are meant to hold their shape longer, BUT if this is at the cost of leach curls, isn't it simply better to get good quality dacron, and accept the inevitable "bagging" which would take a long time , and misuse , to develop.?

B. i have decided to go with a max 120% genoa. I usually sail and race short handed. .And the phrf modification allows me a little more latitude for mistakes !
BUT , and here is the rub, there must be a percent of overlap for my boat, around 120% (115%? 130%?) that would provide the maximum drive for the phrf buck. The sailmaker did not think this was important. I know this is a difficult question, but surely the wing shape of the foresail/mainsail combination can be optimised for a particular sailplan.
The boat is a lovely Abbott 33, which I am not sailing as well as she deserve to be handled!

Answers to either A or B will be carefully perused. Thank you.
Rated LPG makes a BIG difference in PHRF racing. (especially for boats of moderate disp.)
Every district has a different 'datum' for the standard rating.
Many start from 155% of LP.
So it would be something like the following: (rating based on LARGEST sail in your inventory)
155% no change std rating
145% (+3)
135% (+5)
125% (+7)
etc.......... (some other factors I've left out)
In a long skinny boat, like this one, with a small foretriangle to begin with, overlap means speed upwind.
You want to at least think this through before you send big money on a headsail.
(I'm not selling sails.).
Just something to consider.
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Old 09-08-2012
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Re: new 120% genoa

Pretty boat, the A33...

Lots of good points made above.. we're sailing a 3/4 frac with a small headsail (100% or so) and find that we're lacking below 8 knots true but pretty comfortable and moving well above that, though we're not racing so don't have a direct comparison.

In many cases, esp with the large J dimension boats, using a 120% jib results in poorer sheeting angles than a 150 because the shroud base can't fit within the camber of the sail, resulting in reduced pointing ability. On a previous IOR masthead 40 footer we left the #2 at home and used the 155 or the working jib depending on conditions. (Upwind sailing was the only way to get anywhere from where we lived)

In the case of the Abbott 33, though, she's probably narrow enough to get by. So then it's a numbers game as you compare the rating break vs light air losses..

As to what material to buy, we've had good results with 'hard' dacron mains and pentex headsails on our last couple of boats.
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